GENEVA • Asia's largest economies have fallen in the World Economic Forum's latest gender equality ranking, a sign that while the region has become a key engine of the global economy, it is still playing catch-up in terms of providing equal opportunities between the sexes.
The report ranks 144 nations measured on progress in equality in four areas: education, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment.
Thirteen of the 25 Asia-Pacific nations surveyed in this year's Global Gender Gap Report released yesterday dropped in their rankings compared with last year, Japan's Nikkei Asian Review reported. They included the region's top economies, including China, Japan, India and South Korea.
India fell sharply from 87th place to 108th, a drop that was "largely attributable to a widening of its gender gaps in political empowerment as well as in healthy life expectancy and basic literacy", the report said.
China slipped a notch to 100th and "remains the world's lowest-ranked country with regard to the gender gap in its sex ratio", it said. Japan dropped to 114th from 111th, while South Korea fell two spots to 118th.
In South-east Asia, Singapore placed 65th after falling 10 places, Thailand declined to No. 75, while Indonesia moved up to 84 from 88th.
Globally, Iceland took the top spot, while Norway and Finland rounded out the top 3. Overall, the world closed 68 per cent of the gap, nearly unchanged from last year. The report said at the current rate of progress, it would now take 100 years on average to achieve overall gender equality.